Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA) has announced that the Australian Cross Country Marathon Mountain Bike Championships (XCM Champs) will be heading to Derby in Tasmania for the next two years.
MTBA will partner with Dorset Council and Launceston Mountain Bike Club as a joint venture to deliver the premiere Marathon MTB event in Australia. It is expected that Derby will provide a challenging course to determine the best marathon MTB racers in Australia.
Formed ten years ago, Launceston Mountain Bike club has over 250 members and boasts former National Champion and Australian representative rider Rowena Fry as just one of their many talented riders. The club’s team includes those involved with the highly successful Blue Dragon Mountain Bike Challenge, bringing significant local event experience to the Championships.
Winning riders at the event will be crowned National Champions and will be presented with the coveted Green and Gold jersey. The Australian Championships are also a key qualifying criteria for our riders to be named on the Australian team for the annual UCI Marathon World Championships. For 2015, this will be about a month later at the Sella Ronda Hero event in the Val Gardena, Italy.
“Tasmania has a great range of exhilarating trails and mountain bike challenges for riders” said Mr Shane Coppin, Executive Officer of MTBA. “It is thrilling to bring a National Championships to a town with historical interest and I am confident this will bring some special character to the event.”
The trail network at Derby in North East Tasmania is currently being constructed by renowned trail builders World Trail. Director Glen Jacobs said “Mountain bikers throughout Australia may not have heard of Derby yet, but I can guarantee by this time next year, it will be on everybody’s wish list as a ride destination.
“The first stage is due for opening this December, right on time for this major iconic event to come to town. This is perfect timing and a great way to showcase to the world the stunning scenery and uniqueness of the Derby trails.”
The 2015 Australian Cross Country Marathon Mountain Bike Championships will be held on the weekend of 16th & 17th May 2015. You could check out the latest Australian Mountain Bike magazine for a run down on what’s going on in Derby.
The XCM Champs have a habit of throwing up a hard course that is singletrack heavy, and it looks like that is on the cards again as the race heads to Derby. 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 have all rewarded the strongest mountain bikers who are at the top of their game, and as World Trail built a lot of the trail in the 2013 course (in Atherton) it might be the same type of course again in Derby. A lot of built singletrack utilising natural features, and using the terrain the best way possible.
But, like 2013 and 2014, is it close to the majority of the racing population? Tasmania isn’t close. And May isn’t warm. Championship events don’t attract big crowds in Australia, and if the amazing trails at Atherton didn’t tempt riders north, will the new network in Derby pull them south? Let’s hope so, in order to have a highly competitive and deep field in our XCM Championships. We’ve got notice, so jump on Skyscanner and find a cheap hire car via your favourite comparison site and lock this one in. The beauty of this decision is that we get to race there for two years in a row, with no guessing as to where the XCM Champs will be, or when the race will fall within the calendar. These are the kinds of decisions our national federation should be making, and it’s pleasing to see it happening.
Online entry and all information will be available shortly via www.mtba.asn.au
Thanks to World Trail and Tourism NET for the images.